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#1882729 - 04/19/12 11:39 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Scottsdale, AZ
Andy and JimF - Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I at least know 13 places to fix (LOL). What was stocking was that my teacher told me that I was playing the repeat of the B section with a different tempo when it comes back towards the end. Also I had memory slip at the same spot as I did previous week. My teacher marked where I had memory slip in the score. Interestingly, I tend to have memory slip when there is a large down ward jump in the left hand. She basically told me that I had to do this kind of detective work by myself and fix the mistakes before I come back to the lesson. So basically I got scolded. I know she is right but did not enjoy that. Anyways.. I suppose that's why she told me to memorize the left hands Ok, Jim, I think you are right. I will get back to work at it.


Pieces for this year to be decided soon.
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#1882731 - 04/19/12 11:41 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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JimF, what a fantastic idea to have a practice recital.. It's kinda like master class for adults, isn't it. Too bad I don't live in FL.


Pieces for this year to be decided soon.
#1882744 - 04/20/12 12:26 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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JimF - Good idea, sounds like fun!

Cheryl - very cool that you are tweaking your piano... Sorry it's necessary so soon after tuning, though!

FarmGirl - sounds to me like you're well on the way to having it pretty polished... once you can enumerate the issues, like Andy said, you must be getting close to having it under control... I look forward to hearing it!

Yesterday I discovered something almost startling at the keys. My father is in the hospital (in another state, so we've been traveling a lot), and late late last night I sat down to play. The first thing I played was my latest Clementi sonatina, Op36.2, 2nd mvment, which I normally think of as a lively, jaunty, happy piece. Well, it came out of my fingers as a sad, almost haunting piece, thinking of him. It surprised me that, with the very same notes, it sounded so different, but there it was. Music is... deep.


Started playing: February 2011. Still having fun.
#1882836 - 04/20/12 06:52 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Italy
FarmGirl - one way to help yourself hear the weak points is to do recordings.I started doing this a while ago and it really makes a difference. I might think I'm doing ok, but then...REALITY CHECK! lol. Also, it helps with reducing the red light jitters!

JimF - what a great ideas to host a of pre-recital performance!!! You and your piano-mates will have a great time.
I do believe that MOYD pays off - but what is really making the difference at this point is improved study techniques. Nothing new in terms of what my teacher has been telling me, but simply the fact that I'm actually DOING what she has been suggesting - I think I needed to reach a certain level of understanding (and reduced tension) to be able to carry out the instructions she's been giving me since we started.
Also, I think that this might be a "growing spurt" so to speak. Things are clicking, falling into place!

Bessel, - I'm sorry to hear your father isn't well. I hope he improves soon. I can well believe your mood influenced your playing.

(as for the piano wobbling out of tune a bit - a great deal is due to the humidity- grrrr - but I must confess (as I did to the piano tuner when she arrived) that I had been tinkering with the tuning before she came and I really made a mess of A3. She fixed it up at the start of the tuning, in the middle and at the end but warned me it might slip a bit again as I'd gone overboard with fiddling (and learned my lesson!)..... so I was expecting it to go off (during the tuning she also had me make adjustments with my own lever - she is really fun to work with!).

My electronic tuning device will arrive in a few days and I am hoping to put it to good use in between professional tunings.

I'm working on page 2 of my waltz now - (not that page 1 is 100% ready, but the second page is relatively simple and I want to get it under my fingers and then keep up with the focus "chunking" for the tricky parts on page 1....and then bring it all together at a faster tempo than I've been using during the study period. .......Fun, but wow, lots of work! smile



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#1882872 - 04/20/12 08:31 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Andy Platt Offline
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Originally Posted by casinitaly
but I must confess (as I did to the piano tuner when she arrived) that I had been tinkering with the tuning before she came and I really made a mess of A3. She fixed it up at the start of the tuning, in the middle and at the end but warned me it might slip a bit again as I'd gone overboard with fiddling (and learned my lesson!).....


Were you trying to make it A#3? wink


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3
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#1882893 - 04/20/12 09:16 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Andy Platt]  
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Originally Posted by Andy Platt
Originally Posted by casinitaly
but I must confess (as I did to the piano tuner when she arrived) that I had been tinkering with the tuning before she came and I really made a mess of A3. She fixed it up at the start of the tuning, in the middle and at the end but warned me it might slip a bit again as I'd gone overboard with fiddling (and learned my lesson!).....


Were you trying to make it A#3? wink


I originally read what you wrote as "A number 3." It took me a few seconds to realize what you meant. I need to pay more attention to this whole music notation business.


Playing since age 21 (September 2010) and loving it more every day.
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#1882978 - 04/20/12 12:28 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Andy Platt]  
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casinitaly Offline

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Italy
Originally Posted by Andy Platt
Originally Posted by casinitaly
but I must confess (as I did to the piano tuner when she arrived) that I had been tinkering with the tuning before she came and I really made a mess of A3. She fixed it up at the start of the tuning, in the middle and at the end but warned me it might slip a bit again as I'd gone overboard with fiddling (and learned my lesson!).....


Were you trying to make it A#3? wink


Well, something like that....:) lol.


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#1882992 - 04/20/12 01:01 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Or A4? Pulling the wrong pin? :-)

#1883028 - 04/20/12 02:09 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Well, let's just say I got mixed up, turned the pin too much, then couldn't find my way back.
I purposely exaggerated the change, to hear the difference, but then got interrupted and when I went back I was disoriented and .....well, as I said, I only did it because I knew my tuner was booked to come over very soon!

Live and learn!

Last edited by casinitaly; 04/20/12 02:10 PM.

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#1883039 - 04/20/12 02:30 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: FarmGirl]  
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Originally Posted by FarmGirl
My teacher marked where I had memory slip in the score. Interestingly, I tend to have memory slip when there is a large down ward jump in the left hand. She basically told me that I had to do this kind of detective work by myself and fix the mistakes before I come back to the lesson.


One of the reasons I love this forum is it will suddenly trigger realizations - whether this will help is another matter wink

I read this and thought, hmm, same with me - I find it harder to memorize some "harder" bits more than others. And those bits slip quicker from my memory if I leave the piece for a while.

My realization is they are no worse memorized than any other section. But the stumbles I have on them stop my "muscle memory" so it appears I had a memory slip (well, I did but that was the secondary cause). So I think this will help me in the future by getting me to focus on more solid memorization of those sections. (Yeah, yeah, should have it all solid and when somebody identifies how to have more than 24 hours in a day I will do that).


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3
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#1884149 - 04/22/12 08:19 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Yesterday I did my first ever RCM exam and survived! Grade 4!! About a year ago I was contemplating starting the kids on piano, realized I wanted to play too, got a piano, started lessons, and now got through my first exam. It wasnt my best playing because I was so nervous but I think I passed. It was a ton of work but for the experience and all the learning it was worth it

Thanks to all the fine support I've received from everybody here along the way!


Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1884199 - 04/22/12 10:07 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Congrats to Zoe on getting through the grade 4 exam. In about a year, that seems quite amazing to me. And good for all those that have reported their progress. This thread is my favorite on the forum. My posts here help reinforce the progress I am making, rather than my tendency to focus on the setbacks and frustrations of the week.

The forum has helped with these ideas:
* slow practice, better to practice very slowly and accurately.
* finding areas of trouble, and having separate restart places for play or practice.
* playing with eyes closed to get a better feel for the keyboard.
* practice for 20 to 30 minutes then break, then resume.
* basic fingering on chords
* basic rhythm on harmony arpeggios
* tips on posture, body and seat position

I also found a blog about learning to sight read:
http://pianosightreading.blogspot.com/2008/01/background.html
The blogger's background is similar to my own, so I enjoyed his story.

Ok, on to my progress report for my week #6 with the keyboard. Setbacks include setting up for video recording and just not having it. I kept making mistakes, even on the piece I have the most confidence on. There was a buzz in the microphone or something, so I decided to shelve it and try again next week. I picked out a couple of new cover pieces that I might want to learn and decided against them. One gave me a headache even though the difficulty looked reasonable, and the other seemed too intimidating once I got into it, for this beginner.

As for progress, I think the biggest thing was playing with my eyes closed to get a better feel for the keyboard. When I perform whistle for audiences, I tend to keep my eyes closed. My hearing feels sharper, the mind more focused. With the slow practice, and other tips I am playing better, my mind calmer, which I see as a big deal, a significant step forward. The harmony arpeggios are smoother. I got through "Over the Rainbow" a couple of times without errors. It is still like 50/50 on clean play throughs, but last week it was 0/100, always errors, always glitches. I practiced some with headphones and heard some subtle overtones that I could not hear with keyboard speakers.

I mentioned that I decided against working on two different cover songs. Instead, I began work on a fifth original composition. It is interesting to observe how my compositions are evolving as I progress in my playing. I am still doing at least an hour a day of practice.

Thank to all for sharing their information. Congrats to all on their progress.

Last edited by Sand Tiger; 04/22/12 11:20 AM.
#1884200 - 04/22/12 10:10 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: ZoeCalgary]  
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Congrats, Zoe! What pieces did you play?

I too started because my son did, with the same kind of realization you had... also a little over a year ago. I'm impressed that you had the fortitude to knuckle down and study for and take an exam... kudos!

(And now you'll have to update your signature!)


Started playing: February 2011. Still having fun.
#1884338 - 04/22/12 02:24 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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thanks for the sight reading blog link. The flash cards for practicing intervals that can be down loaded are great!


many hands many smiles

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#1884439 - 04/22/12 05:11 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Thanks SandTiger and Bessel.

The pieces I played were:

List A: Baroque -> Minuet in D Minor, BWV Anh. 132, attr. Johann Sebestian Bach
List B: Classical -> Sonatina in B flat Major, op. 4, no. 8, Samuel Wesley
List C: Romantic, 20th and 21st Century, The Wild Horseman, op. 68, no. 8, Robert Schumann

Though I had also learned Fantasia in E Minor, by Georg Telemann and Sonatina in G Major, 3rd movement by Clementi. I opted out of doing Clementi as when I'm nervous I found it very difficult to control the scale like passages and keep them smooth. I really liked the Clementi though and I learned alot from it.


Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1884591 - 04/22/12 09:15 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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SandTiger, this really is a great forum, isn't it?! I've learned so many useful things here, and what's more, been inspired! Learning piano is such a solitary pursuit. So it's nice to have this place to discuss our passion for it.

Congrats, Zoe! People seem to be of two minds about exams here, but it's clearly got you so motivated.

#1884649 - 04/22/12 10:18 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Thanks MaryAnn, you're right about how people feel About exams. It was a ton of work but for me it works.


Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1884792 - 04/23/12 05:06 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Congratulations Zoe! What wonderful achievement!



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#1884864 - 04/23/12 08:42 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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ZoeCalgary, congratulations! What did you find hardest about preparing for the exam? What did you find easiest?


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#1884893 - 04/23/12 09:49 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Thanks Casinitaly! - now just to wait to see comments and mark.

Pianostudent88 - good question! The hardest part for me was 'catching up' on all the technical requirements. I had to learns scales that were new to me so first I had to get the notes/fingering and then memorize. Let's see 4 major scales and 4 minor harmonic and melodic. Hands together 2 octaves and 4 needed to be learned 1 octave with a staccato touch. And then I had to learn the tonic chords, broken and solid for each of these. Broken/solid could be 2 hands plus cadence over 1 octave or one hand over 2 octaves. I was learning a scale a week so that was a good pace but it took time to be able to pick a scale out of the hat and play it in whatever form (1 hand, 2 hands, chords, etc. This was something time and patience could help you through this. But you had to have it all memorized!

But then there is the ear training! Yikes! For me I really really struggle with this. I'm just getting the hang of identifying intervals now. But melody playback has given me grief to no end! With this you are played a tonic chord from one of the scales and told it's name. Then the teacher plays a short melody around the first 5 notes of the scale. You have to then play it back with the right notes and rhythm. I struggled so much with this. I have to concentrate so much on hearing he notes and listening for steps, skips, or jumps, I start to forget the melody. I have to really work on this aspect. I found it the hardest to learn and the hardest to practice!

The repertoire and studies though at first seemed difficult started to come together in good time. And as time went by I noticed other pieces and studies were easier to sight read and play through and didn't appear as challenging as they did at first.

And in case anybody is wondering...yes all that time spent on scales is worth it! Many of the classical era pieces had longer and longer scale like runs so it all comes together in the pieces.


Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1884921 - 04/23/12 10:33 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Congrats on your exam Zoe! Most excellent news! smile

And thank you for the in-depth breakdown of working for the exam. I'm looking at taking my grade 1 and have no real idea of what it looks like or what it would entail to get it, so that helps alot!

Thankfully I work on scales everyday as a warm up! wink


Becca
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#1884923 - 04/23/12 10:41 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Zoe, it was very interesting to read your overview of what you needed to learn for this exam. It sounds like a lot of work. Congratulations on your accomplishment!


Mary Bee
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#1884934 - 04/23/12 10:58 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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ZoeCalgary, thanks for that explanation. I think I'm in the same boat as you as far as aural skills. I'm at about a level 2 for aural skills, but could possibly play up to level 6 for repertoire. Decisions, decisions. I've just finished ordering a bunch of level 3 aural skills training material. I've been working on scales a lot so that doesn't seem so daunting (though I need to work hard on being able to reel them off correctly the first time, without errors).

The other thing that seems difficult to me is memorization. I know it's not required, but given that my aural skills (specifically: playback and intervals) are so weak, I don't want to just give up another 6 points for nothing on the memorization.

I'm going to ask my teacher about it this week and see what she thinks as far as level.

In good news, I think with a very little extra learning I'm prepared for the Advanced Rudiments exam already, so that will take care of the co-requisite theory exams for several levels all at once. Hooray!

BeccaBb, you can get a sense of the requirements for the RCM's daughter program in the U.S., The Achievement Program, here. I think the RCM and TAP requirements must be pretty much the same if not identical because the prep books they sell for it in the U.S. seem to be the same as for the Canadian exams. For your own exam though be sure to check the actual RCM materials.


Piano Career Academy - Ilinca Vartic teaches the Russian school of piano playing
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#1884952 - 04/23/12 11:27 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Zoe
I asked this question on another thread but maybe this thread is better. Could you tell me how the process worked. Did they have you play each scale and arpeggio. How do they test theory? Same day as playing the 3 pieces and 2 etudes? I want to understand how the testing process works step by step. Maybe I'll get one done yet


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#1884955 - 04/23/12 11:31 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Thanks for the link PS! I have a ways to go to get there! LOL


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#1885329 - 04/23/12 10:15 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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MaryBee and BeccaBb - thanks so much for the kind words.


Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1885342 - 04/23/12 10:47 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Wisebuff: I'd be glad to tell you how the exam worked.

My whole exam lasted 15-20 minutes. There was little breaks between each thing to give the examiner time to write her comments (she wrote a lot!).

With RCM you are allowed to do either your 3 repertoire pieces first (in any order you want, but they must be played together) or second after technical requirements. You get 2 bonus marks for each piece you've memorized and they don't have to be memorized.

Or you can start with your technical requirements (my teacher suggested this so as to get used to the piano as you don't really get a warm up or anything). With your technical you are allowed to start with scales, etc. or your studies first. You don't have to memorize studies and you don't get bonus marks even if you did.

So you need to know all of your scales, chords, cadences, arpeggios, etc. But you only get tested on a handful of them. I didn't really count how many I did or even remember all of them now but I was surprised they didn't test for more. I guess this makes each scale just as important as the next and each counts for the same amount of marks.

This is the order I did my exam in. (again I could have chosen to do repertoire first, but it made sense to get a bit of hands on time first.)

Total Exam is out of 100 marks. This is the breakdown for Grade 4. Other grades vary slightly.

Technical Marks were broken down as follows: (24 marks)

- technical test (scales, etc.) = 12 marks
- studies/etudes 6 marks each = 12 marks

Repertoire Marks were broken down as follows: (50 marks)

List A piece = 18 marks
List B piece = 18 marks
List C piece = 14 marks

(memory 2 marks for each piece) = 6 marks

After you've done both of these there is the Ear Tests: (10 marks)

Clapback = 3 marks (one short melody, 2-3 measures)
Intervals = 3 marks (I don't remember how many I did but I know it wasn't one of each type you need to know (7))
Playback = 4 marks (one chord, short melody ~6 notes)

Finally Sight reading: (10 marks)

Playing = 7 marks (one line of music, 6 measures)
Clapping = 3 marks (one line of music, 4 measures)

I'd be happy to let you know anything else. Just let me know if you have any other questions.



Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1885348 - 04/23/12 10:53 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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ZoeCalgary Offline
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ZoeCalgary  Offline
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Wisebuff: Sorry I forgot to say. For RCM theory requirements don't start until Grade 5. But if I understood my teacher right you can do your practical exam without having done your theory (or ever doing your theory). However, you won't get your certificate for completion of that grade until your co-requisite theory is done. The theory exam is a separate exam than the practical exam done on a different test day. I'm not sure how long they are.


Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1885370 - 04/23/12 11:51 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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PianoStudent88 Offline
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PianoStudent88  Offline
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Maine
Theory lengths: (this is for the U.S The Achievement Program, but I strongly suspect RCM is the same):

Preparatory Rudiments, which is not required for anything but is suggested as preparation, 1 hour. You can download a sample test from the TAP site and see if you would gain anything by studying this material or if you know it already.

Basic Rudiments (corequisite for Level 5): 1 hour.

Intermediate Rudiments (corequisite for Level 6): 2 hours.

Advanced Rudiments (corequisite for Levels 7-10 and beyond): 2 hours.

Each exam can substitute for the earlier exams. For example if you skip Basic and take Intermediate, that will count as your Level 5 corequisite and your Level 6 corequisite, and similarly taking Advanced alone can count for either or both of those two preceding exams.


Piano Career Academy - Ilinca Vartic teaches the Russian school of piano playing
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#1885374 - 04/23/12 11:56 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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PianoStudent88 Offline
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PianoStudent88  Offline
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Maine
Sample Preparatory Rudiments test and answers available from this page (scroll down).


Piano Career Academy - Ilinca Vartic teaches the Russian school of piano playing
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